Who is holding on to you?
On June 9, 2009, we experienced the fishing trip that would ruin all future family fishing trips.
Our boys were getting interested in fishing, but I didn’t particularly care for worms, hooks, or the stench in the laundry after we’d manhandled all manner of smelly creatures. But on this June evening, Kurt was there to handle the slimy things, and he’d received a top-secret fishing tip about where the fish were biting.
It was a good tip. Kurt rigged up poles for the boys, and from the moment the first lure smacked the surface, we had constant bites. A few family friends happened to be there too, thank goodness, because every sixty seconds, one of the boys needed help reeling in the fish or taking it off the hook.
After Levi’s first catch, the friend helping him asked, “Do you want to hold it?”
Levi smiled and nodded tentatively. Then he reached for the fish.
My sister-in-law was quick with the camera and captured the reality. Levi appeared to (possibly) be holding the fish. Maybe he truly thought he was, but the photo tells the truth.
Someone else was holding the fish.
We caught 53 fish that evening! Future fishing excursions from shore never quite measured up.
When I ran across that photo, it reminded me of another fisherman named Peter. In a boat full of fish that was sinking his boat, Peter got his first glimpse of Christ’s power. Jesus could do what Peter could not, so Peter left everything on the shore and followed him (see Luke 5:1-11).
Three years later, after Peter had denied Jesus and Jesus had been crucified and then raised to life, Peter found himself on the same lake with his nets full of fish…again (see John 21:1-6).
It turns out that while Peter was bewildered and trying to catch fish, Jesus was doing the work. In a way, Jesus was holding the fish.
Are you trying to hold yourself together? Are you straining to hold your family together? Are you working long hours to hold a job you can’t afford to lose?
Who is doing the work of holding you?
In a book titled Gentle and Lowly, (Affiliate Link) author and pastor Dane Ortland provides this illustration:
“When my two-year-old Benjamin begins to wade into the gentle slope of the zero-entry swimming pool near our home, he instinctively grabs hold of my hand. He holds on tight as the water gradually gets deeper. But a two-year-old’s grip is not very strong. Before long, it is not he holding on to me but me holding on to him…So [it is] with Christ. We cling to him, to be sure. But our grip is that of a two-year-old amid the storm waves of life. [Christ’s] sure grasp never falters” (Gentle and Lowly, page 65).
Most children instinctively cling to their parents at the door of the nursery, the daycare, or the dentist. A mother might even bear the faint scars of little fingernails dragged across her neck as her little boy was unwillingly peeled away.
But when that same boy wants to sprint into the Walmart parking lot, the strong mother clings to the child to hold him fast.
When you feel like you’re losing your grip, who is holding you?
We get a few clues from the writers of the Psalms.
[The Lord] reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.Psalm 18:16, NIV
He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me .
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me,Psalm 139:9-10, NIV
your right hand will hold me fast .
- When my health is tenuous, He will hold me fast.
- When my family fractures, He will hold me fast.
- When people pronounce judgment without knowing the facts, He will hold me fast.
- When exhaustion cuts me down, He will hold me fast.
Then, in Isaiah, we hear it from God himself:
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.Isaiah 41:10, NIV
How he holds us and by what means he provides strength is completely up to him. We can trust him because we are upheld by his good and righteous hand.
When certainty slipping from your grasp, when people you have loved start squirming from your hand, remember, Someone Else is holding on to you.
He will hold you fast.
If you need a musical reminder to drill this stabilizing truth deep into your heart and mind, do yourself and favor and listen to Keith & Kristin Getty remind you who is holding you.